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+ Real-Time group scheduling
+ --------------------------
+1. Overview
+ 1.1 The problem
+ 1.2 The solution
+2. The interface
+ 2.1 System-wide settings
+ 2.2 Default behaviour
+ 2.3 Basis for grouping tasks
+3. Future plans
+ Fiddling with these settings can result in an unstable system, the knobs are
+ root only and assumes root knows what he is doing.
+Most notable:
+ * very small values in sched_rt_period_us can result in an unstable
+ system when the period is smaller than either the available hrtimer
+ resolution, or the time it takes to handle the budget refresh itself.
+ * very small values in sched_rt_runtime_us can result in an unstable
+ system when the runtime is so small the system has difficulty making
+ forward progress (NOTE: the migration thread and kstopmachine both
+ are real-time processes).
+1. Overview
+1.1 The problem
+Realtime scheduling is all about determinism, a group has to be able to rely on
+the amount of bandwidth (eg. CPU time) being constant. In order to schedule
+multiple groups of realtime tasks, each group must be assigned a fixed portion
+of the CPU time available. Without a minimum guarantee a realtime group can
+obviously fall short. A fuzzy upper limit is of no use since it cannot be
+relied upon. Which leaves us with just the single fixed portion.
+1.2 The solution
+CPU time is divided by means of specifying how much time can be spent running
+in a given period. We allocate this "run time" for each realtime group which
+the other realtime groups will not be permitted to use.
+Any time not allocated to a realtime group will be used to run normal priority
+tasks (SCHED_OTHER). Any allocated run time not used will also be picked up by
+Let's consider an example: a frame fixed realtime renderer must deliver 25
+frames a second, which yields a period of 0.04s per frame. Now say it will also
+have to play some music and respond to input, leaving it with around 80% CPU
+time dedicated for the graphics. We can then give this group a run time of 0.8
+* 0.04s = 0.032s.
+This way the graphics group will have a 0.04s period with a 0.032s run time
+limit. Now if the audio thread needs to refill the DMA buffer every 0.005s, but
+needs only about 3% CPU time to do so, it can do with a 0.03 * 0.005s =
+0.00015s. So this group can be scheduled with a period of 0.005s and a run time
+of 0.00015s.
+The remaining CPU time will be used for user input and other tasks. Because
+realtime tasks have explicitly allocated the CPU time they need to perform
+their tasks, buffer underruns in the graphics or audio can be eliminated.
+NOTE: the above example is not fully implemented yet. We still
+lack an EDF scheduler to make non-uniform periods usable.
+2. The Interface
+2.1 System wide settings
+The system wide settings are configured under the /proc virtual file system:
+ The scheduling period that is equivalent to 100% CPU bandwidth
+ A global limit on how much time realtime scheduling may use. Even without
+ CONFIG_RT_GROUP_SCHED enabled, this will limit time reserved to realtime
+ processes. With CONFIG_RT_GROUP_SCHED it signifies the total bandwidth
+ available to all realtime groups.
+ * Time is specified in us because the interface is s32. This gives an
+ operating range from 1us to about 35 minutes.
+ * sched_rt_period_us takes values from 1 to INT_MAX.
+ * sched_rt_runtime_us takes values from -1 to (INT_MAX - 1).
+ * A run time of -1 specifies runtime == period, ie. no limit.
+2.2 Default behaviour
+The default values for sched_rt_period_us (1000000 or 1s) and
+sched_rt_runtime_us (950000 or 0.95s). This gives 0.05s to be used by
+SCHED_OTHER (non-RT tasks). These defaults were chosen so that a run-away
+realtime tasks will not lock up the machine but leave a little time to recover
+it. By setting runtime to -1 you'd get the old behaviour back.
+By default all bandwidth is assigned to the root group and new groups get the
+period from /proc/sys/kernel/sched_rt_period_us and a run time of 0. If you
+want to assign bandwidth to another group, reduce the root group's bandwidth
+and assign some or all of the difference to another group.
+Realtime group scheduling means you have to assign a portion of total CPU
+bandwidth to the group before it will accept realtime tasks. Therefore you will
+not be able to run realtime tasks as any user other than root until you have
+done that, even if the user has the rights to run processes with realtime
+2.3 Basis for grouping tasks
+Enabling CONFIG_RT_GROUP_SCHED lets you explicitly allocate real
+CPU bandwidth to task groups.
+This uses the cgroup virtual file system and "<cgroup>/cpu.rt_runtime_us"
+to control the CPU time reserved for each control group.
+For more information on working with control groups, you should read
+Documentation/cgroups/cgroups.txt as well.
+Group settings are checked against the following limits in order to keep the
+configuration schedulable:
+ \Sum_{i} runtime_{i} / global_period <= global_runtime / global_period
+For now, this can be simplified to just the following (but see Future plans):
+ \Sum_{i} runtime_{i} <= global_runtime
+3. Future plans
+There is work in progress to make the scheduling period for each group
+("<cgroup>/cpu.rt_period_us") configurable as well.
+The constraint on the period is that a subgroup must have a smaller or
+equal period to its parent. But realistically its not very useful _yet_
+as its prone to starvation without deadline scheduling.
+Consider two sibling groups A and B; both have 50% bandwidth, but A's
+period is twice the length of B's.
+* group A: period=100000us, runtime=10000us
+ - this runs for 0.01s once every 0.1s
+* group B: period= 50000us, runtime=10000us
+ - this runs for 0.01s twice every 0.1s (or once every 0.05 sec).
+This means that currently a while (1) loop in A will run for the full period of
+B and can starve B's tasks (assuming they are of lower priority) for a whole
+The next project will be SCHED_EDF (Earliest Deadline First scheduling) to bring
+full deadline scheduling to the linux kernel. Deadline scheduling the above
+groups and treating end of the period as a deadline will ensure that they both
+get their allocated time.
+Implementing SCHED_EDF might take a while to complete. Priority Inheritance is
+the biggest challenge as the current linux PI infrastructure is geared towards
+the limited static priority levels 0-99. With deadline scheduling you need to
+do deadline inheritance (since priority is inversely proportional to the
+deadline delta (deadline - now)).
+This means the whole PI machinery will have to be reworked - and that is one of
+the most complex pieces of code we have.